11 Jul Achieving High Performance in Facilities Management – Step 3

As a facilities management organization strives to reach high performance, the third self-assessment question presents itself.  What improvements should we focus on right now?  The answer to this question is the topic of the fourth in our series of posts about high performing facilities management organizations. As a reminder of the maturity model framework we’re using in this series, see the graphic below, where this month’s post is highlighted:

FM Step3

Our model offers a straightforward approach based on the five questions above, which become the building blocks for high-performance. The first two questions covered some essential policy, inventory, organizational, technology, and systems questions, so that by now, the Facilities Management (FM) leader will have a good idea of potential improvements. Creating, capturing, and implementing these opportunities is the big payback to this exercise. They can typically be classified into five key “improvement vectors”:

  • Organization – How consistent are our decision-making processes? Is our approach to managing our property centralized, with clear strategic roles?
  • Policy – Do our people collaborate informally, producing inconsistent results, or do we have integrated, repeatable processes in place to improve consistency?
  • Technology/Systems – Are we still using manual templates and checklists, or have we moved to work order management with a CMMS? Are the facilities systems fully integrated with the financial systems?
  • Recruiting and Training – Do we have a formal program to recruit and train employees? Have we baselined essential skills and training needs?
  • Communications – Are we operating on an ad-hoc, as needed basis, or do we have a strategic communications plan with a formalized program and standardized tools?

Once an area for improvement is selected, it’s likely that some work has already been done in this area; in other words, implementation doesn’t have to start from scratch. In one of our past engagements, we developed the continuum shown below, to guide a phased implementation of improvements across the full range of the vectors:

Working with FM leaders on this project, we were able to assess which level the organization had achieved on each of the vectors, and develop a plan to achieve the next level. Our long-term plan looked at the levels above the immediate goals, with the objective of capturing cumulative value from each successive initiative and investment.

It’s very popular to metaphorically refer to organizational improvement efforts as a journey these days, and it’s easy to see why, as these levels form a sort of road map to high-performance. The key is to complete an honest self-assessment at the start of the effort, which ensures clarity for navigating the challenging way ahead. Performance metrics, which we’ll discuss in a future post, become the checkpoints to measure progress as each improvement is implemented.

Our next post will take a look at how FM leaders can use their resources–the people assigned to the department and the budget that has been provided–to improve short-term planning. This is is summarized by the question, “How can I make sure that the correct facilities are available to meet my organization’s immediate requirements?” We hope you’ll join us for that post next month!

If you missed a previous post in this series, click the Facilities Management tag below to view them.

Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a Director with Markon Solutions and is responsible for leading the Facilities Solution consulting practice, which supports the real property and facilities life-cycle, including planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance. Over a span of 18 years, he has managed more than 90 projects, sized from a few thousand to millions of square feet. His unique approach seeks alignment of the real property assets with business strategy to provide optimal support to core business processes. He’s in demand as a speaker and writer on facilities management and real estate trends and process. Mr. Turner earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BA in Economics from the University of South Florida.